Le’Veon Bell Rumors: Latest on RB’s Impasse with Steelers After Franchise Tag

Le’Veon Bell Rumors: Latest on RB’s Impasse with Steelers After Franchise Tag

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The "official" beginning of the 2018 NFL free-agency period is at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday, but the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ biggest questions entering this offseason were already on their roster.

Antonio Brown‘s contractual situation was figured out as he restructured his contract with the Steelers to fully guarantee his salary and give the team additional cap room. 

As for Le’Veon Bell, well, that situation is not clear at all.

The Steelers placed their franchise tag on him for the second consecutive season earlier this month. After some initial vague threats at retirement, the Pro Bowl running back said he will play in 2018—just not with any plans to participate in any offseason activities.

"Honestly, no, I’m not going to sit out," Bell said in an Instagram chat (h/t the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review). "I’m going to be in the facility Week 1. It’s going to be a rerun of last year. I’m not going to (training) camp. I’m not doing nothing else extra, OTAs, none of that.

"I’m going to strictly go to what I have to go to. I want to win every game. I want to have the best statistical career that I possibly can, so I want to play in every game that I can possibly play."

Bell seemed to indicate he wanted to reinvigorate the running back market, which has been lacking in terms of long-term contracts. Devonta Freeman is signed to the largest long-term contract for a running back; his contract pays him an average of $8.25 million per season. 

Bell will make $14.5 million under the franchise tag, should he play without a long-term contract in 2018.

"It’s not so much the money," he said. "I think that the problem is, it’s more of me being valued as to where I feel like I produce. … Devonta Freeman signed for what he wanted to sign for. That’s not on me, that’s on Devonta Freeman. He can’t go back and change it. Him signing for that has nothing to do with what I want for my deal."

Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reported the Steelers have increased their offer to Bell, which was initially a contract that paid him $42 million over the first three seasons and had an annual average of $13.3 million. However, Bell now wants a deal that will average $14.5 million—right in line with what he will make on the franchise tag.

Bell rushed for 1,291 yards and nine touchdowns last season, adding 85 receptions for 655 yards and two scores. He’s had at least 1,200 yards rushing and 75 receptions in three of the last four seasons. 

Breaking Sports News

via Bleacher Report – Front Page http://ift.tt/yO6Sgr

March 14, 2018 at 04:47AM

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